Bahamas citizen, four Alaskan commercial fishermen, and Alaska clean cruising organization president submit statements detailing the impacts of Carnival’s pollution on their livelihoods, quality of life
Miami, FL – Billionaire Miami Heat owner and Carnival Corporation board chair Micky Arison and Carnival Corporation CEO Arnold Donald appeared in federal court at 2 p.m. ET today to answer for their company’s continued criminal activity. On Friday, victims of Carnival’s environmental crimes from the Bahamas and Alaska filed an emergency motion to intervene in the proceeding, asking the court to recognize their right to participate in the case under the Crime Victims’ Rights Act. By Sunday, three more Alaskan commercial fishermen submitted written comments to the court recounting the impacts Carnival’s pollution has had on their livelihoods and quality of life, and asking the judge to carefully consider these effects when weighing an appropriate punishment.
One of the victims, Fotini “Sam” Tsavousis Duncombe, Bahamian citizen and co-founder of Bahamian-based environmental group reEarth, attended today’s hearing and spoke ahead of the hearing outside of the courtroom about her hopes to address the court to share her story. Read the victim impact statements and other court documents here: http://cleanupcarnival.com/carnival-corp-goes-to-court/
“Carnival Corporation makes millions of dollars selling its customers the image of a tropical paradise in the Bahamas, even while they treat our nation like a sewer. The pathogens, chemicals, and other contaminants in the water pollution and solid waste streams Carnival recklessly discharged so close our shores pose a serious threat to our fragile coral reefs, our livelihoods, our health, and our way of life. It is past time for this company to be held accountable for the enormous impacts its polluting ships are having on the places and people its ships visit,” said Duncombe.
According to a recently published report from the Court Appointed Monitor in the current criminal case and probation proceedings against Carnival Corporation, the Bahamas bore the greatest burden of Carnival’s illegal dumping during its first year of probation, which included multiple illegal blackwater (sewage) and food discharges, as well as knowingly dumping plastic wastes mixed with food within the Bahamian archipelago.
“Carnival’s environmental crimes have victimized individuals, communities, and businesses throughout this country and across the planet. These victims — including those coming before the court — want Carnival punished and the environment protected. We cannot just slap Carnival on the wrist again and allow it to continue its criminal as usual business practices, said Knoll Lowney, legal counsel for the victims.
The proposed intervention has garnered support from Stand.earth, a nonprofit organization that leads the international Clean Up Carnival campaign to call on Carnival Corporation to clean up its environmental practices.
“The victims of Carnival’s crimes have faced decades of environmental abuse and callous disregard at the hands of this recidivist corporate felon. These courageous individuals are taking on the proverbial Goliath — one whose reach impacts communities and ecosystems from New Zealand to the Arctic. Carnival has demonstrated for decades that it cannot be trusted to comply with environmental laws, and that it is willing to lie, bully subordinates, and falsify documents to cover up its environmental crimes. I certainly hope the judge will take the impacts on victims very seriously and remove the tools of lawbreaking from the hands of a repeat criminal offender,” said Kendra Ulrich, Senior Shipping Campaigner for Stand.earth.
Cruise giant Carnival Corporation has had 13 federal felony convictions since 2002 stemming from intentional illegal dumping of oily waste and efforts to conceal it. The criminal rap sheets of the company’s subsidiary brands stretch back to the early 1990s, when the U.S. Department of Justice first began its program of prosecuting illegal discharges from ocean-going vessels.
Background on Carnival Corporation’s criminal case
In 2016, the U.S. Department of Justice indicted Carnival Corporation for illegally dumping oily waste into the ocean from its Princess Cruises ships for eight years and covering it up. It was Carnival’s third conviction for the same crime since 1998. Carnival pleaded guilty to seven felony charges, was fined $40 million as part of its guilty plea and was put on probation with a Court Appointed Monitor. Over the last two years, while on probation, Carnival violated its probation by dumping plastic garbage into the ocean, illegally discharging gray water into Glacier Bay National Park in Alaska and sewage in the Bahamas, falsifying records, and seeking to avoid unfavorable findings by preparing ships in advance of court-ordered audits. Carnival even tried to lobby the U.S. Coast Guard through a back channel to change the terms of the settlement.
The U.S. Office of Probation filed a motion for probation violations after the Court Appointed Monitor (CAM) found that Carnival Corporation ships have continued to violate national environmental laws and contravene international pollution prevention treaties, failed to properly train staff to ensure regulatory compliance, attempted to cover up their violations through falsification of documents, and tried to use back channels to influence federal regulators.
Federal prosecutors announced last week that they had reached a deal with Carnival Corp. The judge agreed to review the deal, and took the unusual step of ordering Carnival’s CEO and chairman of the board to personally attend the hearing.
Background on Stand.earth’s campaign
Stand.earth has been leading a campaign to call on Carnival Corporation to clean up its environmental practices — including ending its use of one of the dirtiest fossil fuels on earth, heavy fuel oil. In January 2019, Stand.earth released a study commissioned from a Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health faculty member showing that air pollution on the decks of Carnival ships can be as bad or worse than some of the world’s most polluted cities.
Stand has also been actively engaged at the UN International Maritime Organization to push for an end to the use of heavy fuel oil in the sensitive Arctic ecosystem as well as ending the use of scrubbers – or exhaust gas cleaning systems (EGCS) – as an alternative compliance mechanism to cleaner fuel for air pollution control. Dozens of the violations found by the Court Appointed Monitor in this current case related to failures of the EGCS for a variety of reasons.
U.S. media contacts:
Kendra Ulrich, Senior Shipping Campaigner, firstname.lastname@example.org, +1 (360) 255-3555 (In Miami, ET)
Knoll Lowney, Legal Counsel for Victims: email@example.com, +1 (206) 650-1044 (In Miami, ET)
European media contact:
Dave Walsh, firstname.lastname@example.org, +34 6918 26764 (In Barcelona, CET)